Ex-MSU football player sues over expulsion in sex assault claim
A former Michigan State University football player expelled amid a sex assault accusation is suing the school, claiming officials acted wrongfully based on a false report and halting his NFL career.
The 55-page complaint was filed on Keith Mumphery's behalf Tuesday in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan, some six months after his accuser also sued the university over rights violations as well as failing to properly address a March 17, 2015 incident.
"Despite a previously unblemished disciplinary record and Michigan State’s initial finding of 'no responsibility,' Plaintiff now finds himself permanently dismissed from Michigan State based on false allegations of sexual misconduct and sexual exploitation," the court document read.
Mumphery, MSU’s former wide receiver who had recently wrapped his final season with the Spartans, acknowledged he and a female freshman met through a dating website the previous fall. Their litigation asserts the pair planned to connect when Mumphery returned to the East Lansing campus for Pro Day on March 18, 2015.
The student has claimed the athlete assaulted her inside a dormitory room. The woman later reported the incident to university police and the school’s Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives. The Office of Institutional Equity launched an investigation.
In his filing Tuesday, Mumphery claims the then-18-year-old “Jane Roe” aggressively sought his attention and initiated a consensual intimate encounter but “there was never any pushing or other form of aggression.” The woman "became visibly upset" when he refused to have sex without a condom, his lawyers wrote.
Mumphery cooperated with the probe. The Ingham County Prosecutor’s Office declined to authorize charges, “concluding that the case could not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt” and noting the alleged victim never followed up with authorities there, according to his complaint.
Meanwhile, MSU officials initially concluded Mumphery had not violated school policies on relationship violence and sexual misconduct. The accuser appealed; in 2016 a review panel determined the Office of Institutional Equity had made "procedural errors" and "capricious findings," then directed it to reopen the investigation as well as clarify the findings.
Mumphery’s attorneys argue MSU ignored “the lack of corroborating evidence and the numerous inconsistencies … to appease Roe, who was still a first-year student.”
Months later, the Georgia native who had graduated in spring 2014 was barred from the campus and facilities until Dec. 31, 2018, and told he could not re-enroll.
Soon after news of the expulsion surfaced last year, the Houston Texans terminated Mumphery’s contract and cut him from the team. He hasn’t been able to work in the NFL since then, his legal representatives say.
The lawsuit seeks a jury trial and accuses MSU of denying Mumphery due process.
“Plaintiff was entitled to notice, a meaningful opportunity to be heard, and process commensurate with the seriousness of the allegations and the potential discipline, sanctions and repercussions he was facing,” the filing said. “The allegations in this case resulted in a sanction that will have lifelong ramifications ...”
MSU spokeswoman Emily Guerrant said Tuesday night: “We do not comment on pending litigation.”